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On my way way home, MARTA bound while the car's in the shop. Took the scenic route. Stopped at the Farmers Market on Buford Highway, had dinner feeling like an extra on the set of Bladerunner. Bought a bag of green tea Kit Kats from Japan and a yellow candle for the machete wielding god Chango. Screened daydream kisses between the Eastern European lady butchers serving me cold cuts wrapped in wax paper. Pondered the Hentai themed seafood packed in ice behind the glass. Stepped outside to an early dusk on an early spring and headed the long way around to the back of the Market. I know a place I can take a quick 'break' at, one between places really, map invisible, this sharp hill slope of raw earth that leads to the street that leads to the Doraville Station. The terrain is dense with trees with patches of shrubs accessible via small footpaths trodden by years of shortcut determined commuters. Up one of these footpaths I diverge over to a plateau that is obscured from the parking lot by a dense veil of vines and feral bushes . Here I find an overturned shopping cart with only one wheel and a blue milk crate on which a man sits eating peach slices out of a can.

I grab a seat on the edge of the shopping cart, pull out a pack of cigarettes, shake loose the joint tucked behind the smokes, and holding it up before the man ask - "You mind?"

The man pauses with a peach slice dripping pink juice down his fingers, looks at the joint, looks at me, and shakes his head no.

I fire that bitch up, it's a pinner so the first hit is paper harsh, the second brings the love however with a cough that sounds like an old biplane engine rattling into life and ready to fly again. I go to pass the joint to the man but he declines with another shake of his head joined by a wagging peach slice.

"Suit yourself," and I proceed to rock this mic solo.

So we sit there for a good minute, him snacking on canned peaches, me hissing hits off the pinner, while above and behind the rush hour traffic provides white noise as I watch a family of cats prowl the loading bay below.

"So?," my silent companion speaks with an accent that is melodic and unfamiliar, "what do you make of this Continuing Crisis?"

The buzz's got my consciousness all Instagram filtered, on one of those nostalgic settings that makes the reds of the dusk simmer with the burnt sepia of old photographs. Damn, I better get my shit together, so I hit the pinner again and stall - "'The Continuing Crisis' you say?"

He studies me for a good minute. Eyes darkened under the brow from which only their glint shine through and shadows running deep in the crack of a butcher's face. He plucks out another peach from the can, pops it into his mouth, chews, swallows, and nods - "Yes."

"Well, the way I see it it's like this," I hit what's already a roach real quick, "at the moment I'm squatting on a broken shopping cart while doing drugs in what appears to be an abandoned hobo camp between a farmer's market and the rail tracks. Apparently some combination of bad decisions mixed with even worse circumstances should have both myself and society at large asking ourselves tough questions as to how the situation has been reduced to this. But somehow, I doubt either of us will find any kind of answer that's worth a dam. So, I guess I'll keep fine tuning my reality the way I see fit while society assumes I'm trying to escape it and hunts me down with those resources it dares not waste on the gunfire I hear down the road every night. But beyond that, I am a criminal and I am most likely psychologically addicted to say the least. As such it makes registering the bigger picture a low priority if you know what I mean."

The man nods at this, slips fingers deep into the bottom of the can, and comes up with one last slice that he plops into his mouth. Chewing thoughtfully, he washes the last bite back with a glug of peach juice.

"Interesting," he says tilting his attention back my way, pauses to suckle peach juice residue from his finger, and continues casually with the empty can between his hands. "For me, and many others like me, the Continuing Crisis hunts us as well. We are hunted with hysteria and indifference, with ignorance and an ancient loathing. We are hunted into the shadows and the cracks and the jobs fit only for a slave that pay little better than being one. Yet, all of this I can understand, except one thing."

"What's that?" I ask with roach long burnt out between pinched fingers.

"Why here?" He smiles sadly, "why this country of all countries and you people of all people?"

"Yeah?" I smile politely, "how's that?"

"You're all so afraid of," he laughs sadly looking for a word, "everything. Angry too. Angry at yourselves, at each other, at a world you have no interest in beyond bombing those parts of it that aren't making your sneakers and cell phones. But for the life of me I cannot fathom why this should be. The panic and rage that is. No other nation on this planet, neither now nor in its past, have counted amongst its citizens so many that are both fat and armed to the teeth. Yet every time I turn on the TV to watch the news you would think that we were in the Weimar Republic in 1933. That this is a once mighty empire that has fallen, one that has lost a major war and now is being plundered by insidious savages from another land. I just don't understand where this attitude comes from?"

"Cui bono, brother." I say rising off the cart, "'To Whose Profit?' That's our real national motto. Never mind any of that E Pluribus Unum bullshit, when money talks it asks Cui Bono and when you answer that you'll have answered all those other questions you got as to why things are the way they are. Chem trails? Black helicopters? The Illuminati? Nah, man, it's just a few rich men that can't enjoy what they have until the rest of us have nothing that isn't theirs as well and until they get it they keep convincing the rest of us that we're the ones after it all."

"So what can we do?"

"I dunno. Eat peaches, smoke weed, ask each other tough questions and try not to get caught in the process." It was the best answer I had on me at the time and I could feel reality begin seeping in already so I bade farewell to my companion, wished him well in his travels, and he, in return, wished me well through the perils of our somewhat mutual continuing crisis.


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September 2016

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